The extinct golden toad (Credit: US FWS via Wikimedia Commons)
Researchers fear that human behavior may prompt the next widespread extinction, according to a report from Live Science. Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University, says that the rate of extinction is a staggering 1,000-times the rate prior to human interference. Ideally, species should be disappearing at one species per 10 million a year.
To determine the background rate, Pimm and other researchers used molecular phylogenies, fossils and diversification to predict species’ birth and extinction. Today, species are going extinct at exponentially higher rates and new species are not able to keep up. Pimm believes his findings will lead to work to combat impending extinctions.
Image: The extinct golden toad (Credit: US FWS via Wikimedia Commons)